Wednesday, August 16, 2017

unfurl/ed, by Jes Rausch

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(SF) The Arnos power grid has a problem, but the entities that run the power satellite are having difficulties of their own—including not knowing how long ago this problem started. (2,442 words; Time: 08m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde), appeared in issue 08/14/17, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: It’s very creepy the way we gradually realize that the civilization they served is long gone. Reminiscent of “There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury. The gimmick of stuttering, confused, repetitious text works.

Con: But it’s only a gimmick, and it goes on for too long after we’ve already figured out the situation.

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6 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I thought it was an interesting use of structure to show the four collective, yet individual, minds. How they're dealing with the break down and blurring of the distinctions between them.

    1. Except they're not dealing with it. They've been doing more or less the same thing for eons now. It's unutterably sad.

    2. Ok, not dealing. But how one is kind of sabotaging the others without their knowledge. I imagine that's what's kept them going far beyond their civilization.

    3. That's an interesting point.

      In my mind, they're just software: a program that keeps trying to start up, failing, and retrying. And yet, somehow, there's something deeply touching about it.

      The Bradbury story, "There Will Come Soft Rains," is touching because the machines show us hints of the people who used to live there. This one manages to be touching because of the software personalities. (Despite my usual refusal to disbelieve.)

    4. These entities were people. Or at least they think they had seperate bodies previously.